HABITUnited States-1995

Meredith Snaider as Anna

Written and Directed by Larry Fessenden

Habit is one of those movies where even though I know what just happened I still find myself asking ‘what the fuck just happened?’ It’s one of the most subtle vampire films I’ve ever seen in that it takes all the traditional things that we know about vampires and it makes them mundane and ordinary. For instance, vampires hate garlic. It’s like it chokes them. But if you were a vampire and you went to somebody’s house and they were using garlic to cook are you going to freak out and say, “WHAT IS THAT FUCKING SMELL?!? IS THAT GARLIC? YOU KNOW I HATE FUCKING GARLIC!!! No, you’re going to be cool and say, “Hey, I’m sorry, but I cannot hang with the garlic, man.” That’s just one instance. Another is how vampires can seem to appear out of nowhere to surprise you or get the drop on you. Wouldn’t it make sense that they appear as if they were merely another face in the crowd?

Sam meets Anna at a party and his life is never the same after that. Every time they meet, every time they make love she takes just a little more from him. Not a lot, but just enough to get her by. You see, Anna is a vampire, although the word is only mentioned in suspicious whispers. But that’s the beauty of Habit; not only is vampirism front and center, but at the same time it’s mysterious, clandestine.

The other thing that impresses me about Habit is its characters. They don’t look like Tom Cruise or Nicole Kidman or some other such Hollywood name; they look like real fucking people. They act like real fucking people. Larry Fessenden, the film’s writer-director and star, looks like the kind of guy that would ask you for money for bus fare. For Fessenden, the term ‘movie star looks’ does not apply.

I’ve only seen one other film by Larry Fessenden and that was Wendigo. I wasn’t that impressed with the film and now I know why. New York is Fessenden’s home and it is what he writes about best. Take the Big Apple away from him and you have a man with no direction home. Habit is New York at its seediest and it’s bloodiest.


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